Rural Schools Show Off Pride in Agriculture and Country
Schools constantly tout high speed internet, iPads and other high tech tools and training when it comes to preparing Minnesota students to compete in a global economy.
But an increasing number of rural school districts now call attention to the skills their students are already putting to use to grow Minnesota’s economy in an industry increasingly reliant on high tech–agriculture. Their recognition focuses on an annual ritual dubbed “Drive Your Tractor to School Day.”
The parade of tractors plays out in districts all over the state at spring planting time. The Morrison County Record reports the annual procession of fully-decked out tractors hit the streets in Pierz, Minnesota in early May under the watchful eye of the local police.
It was a showing of support for the agricultural community in the Pierz area. Thirty tractors, including Case IH, Farmall IH, John Deeres, New Hollands and Massey Fergusons, were parked along the east side of the school parking lot Wednesday morning. Students were asked to bring the tractors outside of the normal busy parking time of the school day for safety, and were led out of the school parking lot with a police escort.
But it was more than a matter of show-and-tell for the farmer-students at Pierz Healy High School. They also heard about the greater responsibilities that go with their chosen vocation.
But, before they left, Fr. Ken Popp, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Pierz and St. Michael’s Church in Buckman, prayed with the students and gave a blessing over the equipment. He reminded the students of the stewardship God has placed in the hands of mankind, and that farmers especially, must take care of the land to feed the hungry and save the Earth for future generations. The parade of tractors headed through town to Litke’s Veterinary Service to park before enjoying refreshments at Sue’s Drive-In.
The annual tractor drive not only involves pride in their roots in agriculture, but also in their country. Many of the tractors rolling into school parking lots displayed American flags almost as big as the machines.
The Osakis Review noted the weather was less than cooperative, but as experienced farmers, the students are used to it.
The activity has grown into an annual tradition at many schools across the country. It’s typically held during National FFA Week in February but Mother Nature didn’t cooperate this year and in the words of Osakis FFA advisor and agriculture teacher, Rachel Moe, “Who wants to drive a tractor in February?”
So the Osakis FFA students held off driving their tractors to school until Friday. Eleven students participated, Moe said.
“I think that’s what our kids in FFF enjoy doing — driving tractor,” she said. “It was a way they could show they take pride in FFA and show the school that it was their turn to shine.”